Obscura by Joe Hart

She’s felt it before…the fear of losing control. And it’s happening again.



n the near future, an aggressive and terrifying new form of dementia is affecting victims of all ages. The cause is unknown, and the symptoms are disturbing. Dr. Gillian Ryan is on the cutting edge of research and desperately determined to find a cure. She’s already lost her husband to the disease, and now her young daughter is slowly succumbing as well. After losing her funding, she is given the unique opportunity to expand her research. She will travel with a NASA team to a space station where the crew has been stricken with symptoms of a similar inexplicable psychosis—memory loss, trances, and violent, uncontrollable impulses.

Crippled by a secret addiction and suffering from creeping paranoia, Gillian finds her journey becoming a nightmare as unexplainable and violent events plague the mission. With her grip weakening on reality, she starts to doubt her own innocence. And she’s beginning to question so much more—like the true nature of the mission, the motivations of the crew, and every deadly new secret space has to offer.

A fun, quick read, this space thriller blends genres in an effective way that is perfect both for people who love sci-fi and for those who don’t. It has interesting characters that, though not perfectly developed, still show purpose and agency throghout the story. The villain and his motive are a bit more hazy, which is my one big issue with the story. We don’t learn nearly enough about the person to truly understand the consequences.

The pace is one of the things that I admired most. The way that Hart keeps you turning the pages, making the novel a true thriller. The moments in the ship, when the protagonist is alone, are truly terrifying and the tension that the we feel when we are not sure whether or not she is a reliable narrator enhances the story temendously.

For all lovers of thrillers and especially those who like something a little different than the usual police procedural, this is one to choose.


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